The influence of monoatomic steps and defects on the methanation reaction over ruthenium has been investigated. The experiments are performed on a Ru(0 1 54) ruthenium single crystal, which contains one monoatomic step atom for each 27 terrace atoms. The methanation activity is measured at one bar of hydrogen and CO in a high pressure cell, which enables simultaneous measurements of the local reactivity of the well defined single crystal surface and the global reactivity of the entire crystal and its auxiliary support. By adding sulfur we observe that the measured activity from the well defined stepped front-side of the crystal is poisoned faster than the entire crystal containing more defects. We also observe that additional sputtering of the well-defined front-side increases the reactivity measured on the surface. Based on this, we conclude that the methanation reaction takes place on undercoordinated sites, such as steps and kinks, and that the methanation reaction is extremely structure dependent. Simulations of the flow, temperature, and product distributions in the high pressure cell are furthermore presented as supplementary information.
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